The Voting Rights Act and the Era of Maintenance

83 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2008 Last revised: 18 Feb 2012

See all articles by Michael J. Pitts

Michael J. Pitts

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law


Since its initial passage in 1965, the Voting Rights Act has seen two distinct Eras of enforcement that have been relatively well-recognized in the literature - the Era of Participation, during which the bald-faced denial of access to voting booths for minority voters was virtually eliminated, and the Era of Descriptive Representation, during which minority voters were able to integrate legislative bodies by electing candidates who shared their same immutable characteristics. This Article contends that we have entered a third Era of Voting Rights Act enforcement - the Era of Maintenance. After identifying and laying the parameters of the Era of Maintenance the Article then tackles the question of whether the Era represents an appropriate approach to the Voting Rights Act going forward.

Keywords: civil rights, Voting Rights Act, democracy, voting rights, Section 2, Section 5, Section 203, politics, racial gerrymandering, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Pitts, Michael J., The Voting Rights Act and the Era of Maintenance. Alabama Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 4, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Michael J. Pitts (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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